A spirited Twitter spat between Air Force bases turned unexpectedly dark Wednesday when the Air Force’s official Twitter account dropped a bombshell: Santa isn’t real.

The intra-service Twitter feud between Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota and Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri began boiling over Monday as each claimed their bombers were better.

The gif- and meme-laden scuffle escalated until the Air Force’s main account tried to separate the two Tuesday morning by declaring, “Alright that’s it! You guys leave me no choice! No television for a week!”

But like quarreling siblings, the two continued at it despite the parental intervention. Minot tattled “@Whiteman_AFB started it!” to which Whiteman posted multiple gifs declaring Minot‘s assertions were lies.

And that’s when things went very, very wrong.

“We didn‘t want to have to do this, but if you 2 can’t get along we must,” the Air Force’s main account tweeted Wednesday morning. “Santa will bring you nothing this year...becuase [sic] he isn’t real!”

The bickering bases appeared shocked and chastened. Whiteman responded with three shocked face emoji and a gif declaring the Air Force’s nuclear option “Savage.”

Minot agreed with Whiteman, and noted that the declaration of Santa’s fictional status ran counter to decades of Air Force policy, since NORAD has tracked Saint Nicholas as he delivers presents every Christmas Eve since 1955.

After a few hours ― and the publication of a Washington Examiner story about the dustup ― the Air Force acknowledged in a tweet to the two bases, “Ok, maybe we took that one too far. Santa is real. Thankfully you 2 are better at deterrence than we are at comedy.”

Shortly thereafter, the Air Force tweeted out the Examiner story to more publicly declare, “Santa is real @Anna_Giaritelli! Bluffing to get @Whiteman_AFB @TeamMinot in line.”

And to all a good night.

Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.

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